tv Ben Crump Open Season CSPAN November 11, 2019 2:30pm-3:29pm EST
things like healthcare they say everybody will get it and you'll no longer be bankrupt but you will have to have rationing. they don't seem to care you wait in line for six months or year for your hip replacement but instructed more to their ideological concerns of how -- >> how does that drive selfishness? it seems you're making the event that country is more socialist becomes more selfish. >> i think that is true prayed it's an irony in a way because they would profess to be for the other man in every thing is for someone else but in the end it's driven by selfishness and driven by the elite in their society and they consume and accumulate power and money and homes all based on the cronyism of their system. >> to watch the rest of this interview and to find more episodes of "after words" visit our website, booktv .org and click on the "after words" tab at the top of the page.
commack. >> we are here today to talk with attorney benjamin crump about his new book, just off the presses, entitled "open season". crump needs little introduction to this audience and i will keep my instruction brief but he's a civil rights attorney, author, speaker who is known for resenting the families of trave on martin and michael brown in their respective cases and he is a frequent contributor to time magazine, served as the first african-american president of the federal bar association of the northern district of florida and the first african mcintyre of the florida state directors and has been featured in documentaries such as npr's how a lawyer got a nation talking about trave on martin and bet's im trave on martin a family
fight for justice. his work concerns the rights injustices for minority communities and for that he has received the a.k.a. eleanor roosevelt naacp thurgood marshall award and the fcl sees martin luther king servant award. i am kenneth mack and the lawrence professor of law at harvard law school and author of representing the race of a civil rights lawyer among other works and we are here to talk. our format today is we will allow mr. crump about 15 minutes to introduce us to his book and the really difficult stories that inspired it and i will ask him questions for maybe another 25 minutes and after that you will have the opportunity to ask questions of mr. crump and that will be the remainder of our time. without further ado we will start with mr. crump and give
him 15 minutes or so to introduce us to this provocative and important book. >> thank you so much. thank you for having me at the boston book festival. as a trial lawyer i may stand because -- [laughter] i will tell you this is my mission that this morning i was in atlanta georgia with our common kaepernick, nfl, quarterback and activists and we were talking to a high school gymnasium of thousands of young people and so i spoke about 15 minutes and kept them engaged so if i can do that to high school students i feel okay with you all. but in all seriousness i would just tell you the three reasons that most -- mostly inspired me
to write this book. it was ben franklin who said democracy is like tools in a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. you don't have to be a rocket scientist to know how that vote will go. he said liberty, liberty is making sure that that lamb is well armed to protest that vote. with "open season" i endeavored to help the young lambs in communities of color be able to protest to vote and to give them the information that armed them with intellect and diplomacy to be able to protest the school pipeline, behavior to protest
the racist jim crow laws like stand your ground and to be able to protest voter suppression and be well armed to protest environmental racism that would find that children in south central los angeles have a third of the lung capacity of children growing up in santa monica california. make sure these are people are well armed to protest the prison industrial complex where minorities who go to prison and oftentimes are concerned about losing their constitutional rights where when you are minority especially women of color you also have to worry about losing your reproductive rights. just as late as 2014 in the state of california it was
unearthed that there were black women and hispanic women being coerced into forced sterilizations and it was all done legally. just as late as 2017 you had not a judge but judges who were handing out sentences to black men to say we will reduce your sentence by ten years on a 12 year sentence if you would agree to be sterilized. this is genocide mentally and figuratively that we are talking and it is those things when you see the law itself that is supposed to protect them in the very instrument they are using to kill us. the second thing that really inspired me to write this book and there were many of them but
these are the three that stand out in the aftermath of the killing of michael brown and in ferguson, missouri when the young people refused to remain silent and they refused to let them sweep his death under the rug because any people in that community saw with their own eyes that he put his hands up and the police still shot him anyway. these young people were having the daily protest and i remember specifically the national guard with this young brother who had no fear and they had their assault rifles pointed at him and he was walking straight up to them and i almost had his nose touching the tip of the assault rifle and he told them go ahead and kill me now while these cameras are watching. you will all kill us anyway and it's important to let the world
and see how you are killing us so kill me not with the cameras and that was riveting to me and it stayed in my mind so much i went to fed thinking about what that young brother said and it was true but it is important that the world see how they are killing us not just how they are killing us in these high profile police shooting cases but more poignantly how they are killing us in courtrooms all over america every day and you don't have to take been crump's word for it but go sit in the back of a courtroom and watch how they are administering justice. they use the white kid come in and they have similar fact patterns to the black and brown kids but you see the white kids get a slap on the wrist and they are ushered out of the courtroom and allowed to live out the rest of their lives and to feel the
destinies that god had for them and achieve the american dream. yet, the black and brown children are taken to the corner of the courtroom and fingerprinted and handcuffed and convicted of a trumped up felony conviction. once you have that felony conviction it is life changing. especially if you are a poor person of color in america and if you have to wear that felony conviction like a cross on your back for the rest of your entire life. everybody knows about where you can't vote or serve on a jury or serve in the military but those are just the tip of the icebergs where you have a felony conviction. i mean, everything you could try to do to make legitimate living now that you have that convicted
felon is taken away from you. if you are trying to go to college they won't let you get a pell grant or federal grant and if you are trying to get a legitimate job if you get a felony conviction you can't get a certification to be a teacher and you can't get a certification to be a nurse or a certification to be a brick mason in many states are sisters who want to be beauticians if they have that felony conviction they can't get a certification to do that. if you are a real estate you can't get certification it goes on and on and in fact i found out in the city of atlanta god forbid anyone would feel like they have to do this but even women who are performing in strip clubs if you are a convicted felon you can't get a certification to do that. they're almost pushing you back into a life of crime because
every month you have to pay these probation fines and mandatory drug testing fees and it's a vicious cycle once you're in that system and most young people who take that felony conviction say if i go to court i'm looking at this jury of anything but my peers and they are telling me i can get five, 15 years so they say it you take this felony conviction and you get two years of probation and you say i dodged a bullet but they have no idea what they have just done when they have pled to that felony conviction. in fact, in many states if you are convicted felon and you spend any time in prison you can't get life insurance. it's like you are the walking dead. they just have not given you the desk death certificates yet. what we try to do is criminal
justice system and say that even though they're trying to defy you as having no redeemable qualities we still believe in you and we still believe you're the best that we can -- we still know god has a plan for your life because understand that in states like florida and in tennessee one out of every five black men are convicted felon and these statistics are similar in many states across the country and experts suggest that if this trend continues in the next 25 years it will be one out of every three black men in america who are convicted felons and the last thing i will say is this because i know we have a lot of questions to get to is "open season" to legalize genocide of color people is an extension of what great paul
robison did in 1951 at the time and he was the most amos african-american in the world and along with wb the boys who was the first african-american to graduate from harvard with a phd in one of the founders of the naacp and other black leaders went to the united nations convention in paris, france. this is in the aftermath of world war ii when all the war-torn countries are filing petitions of atrocities and the abuse they are suffering under the genocide convention and definition. these black leaders charged genocide against a government for the killing of negro people in america. they based this on the daily killings, lynchings and raping a black people in the 1940s.
they had case after case and they said we are using your definition, united nations that ask with the intent to destroy in whole or in part a group based on national, ethnic, racial or religious identity. that is what they are doing to us in america and then in conclusion they said the united states government is either complicit with or responsible for creating a genocidal situation to negro people. and so, when you think about the fact that black men only make up at most 7% of the population in america but yet we make up most 50% of the population represented on death row it is creating a genocide situation. when you think about in nursery
school in kindergarten you see that black children are being suspended and expelled almost seven: one then white children and i scratch my head to this day, what could a child do to be expelled from kindergarten but it is so ironic that those percentages of what they are doing to the nursery school and kindergarten are very consistent with the statistics of the incarceration of black and brown people in the penal system in america so we hope to hold a mirror to america's face with his book and say america, we can do better. america we have two follow the lessons of martin luther king who say it is hypocritical for you to be the moral standardbearer in the world and
see injustice and evil and look the other way. being neutral in the face of injustice, in and of itself, is injustice. i conclude by just offering the point that the hypocrisy is everywhere. when you think about the number of black and brown people languishing in prisons for selling marijuana i just finished a criminal phase where amber geiger, white policewoman was convicted of killing this black man in his own apartment eating ice cream on his couch and she only got ten years in prison and i think about all those people who did not kill anybody but was just selling weed trying to make money so they could pay their bills and now the united states government has, in many instances, legalized marijuana they are now selling weed, making money to
pay their bills but when we did that we are in prison so in this book we made the case that america you are not allowed to make profit off of selling marijuana until you let all the black and brown people and other people sitting in prison for selling marijuana out of prison because that is what we mean when we talk about equal justice under the law because we are all american citizens and we all are entitled to expect america to not just recite the preamble to the declaration of the independence but to act like they believe it. thank you. >> all rights. [applause] >> thank you for that presentation. it very much summarizes the
things you said in the book and what i'd like to do and maybe take time to just ask you a few questions about the book and have the audience that a better knowledge of what is in this useful book. i like to start with the title of your book, provocative title. "open season", legalized genocide of black people. as you say in your opening your invoke the commission against genocide and there is an intentional genocide against certain people, people of african americans in this country and it's what the book says. in a matter of fact you say they there's a conspiracy that lots of people, u.s. presidents, supreme court, all have furthered the genocide of black people. at the end of the book you talk about your faith in the united states constitution.
you say i'm steadfast in my belief that the solution to overcoming legalize discrete nation and ultimately genocide resides within the constitution. i am wondering do you see a tension between that gripping and depressing diagnosis of the problem and you are safe in law as a way to remedy it? >> i do see a tension. even at the founding of our nation there was tension because the original sin was slavery. we never have addressed it ful fully. even when you think about the civil war and the 13, 14, 15th amendment and the so-called civil rights amendment within 15 years after those amendment had been passed the united states
supreme court had pretty much neutralized all of them and we give vivid examples in there like for instance with the 13th amendment that freed the slaves except if there are convicted of a crime and you can use it as punishment where they often what we saw happen and i think it's still happening to date, slavery by any other name, is you have black people newly freed from the plantations and then they would go out and walk the streets in the local law enforcement, sheriff or whomever would approach them and say where are you going? what are you doing? do you have a job? many times if they said they did not they then would find that as the crime of vagrancy and so they would then take the newly freed slaves and in many instances put them back on the
same plantation that they were just freed from and when that was challenged in the virginia supreme court they issued a hold that still has never been overturned and that said literally, if you are convicted of a crime you are a slave of the state and the united states supreme court denies and it was affirmed many other states then said the same thing so what i submit to you all what if the supreme work, great institution of justice, would have corrected that at that time and said that no, no, we want to see prisons as rehabilitation and we don't want to see prisons as this punishment where we think of incarceration as making someone a slave and so in the conclusion
i talk about how we need to reimagine incarceration because i think the constitution, even though it's not a perfect document, it provides perfect opportunities for us to be better and i think when we look at the amendments even if the supreme court who is supposed to be the last safeguard was supposed to be the last refuge against injustice and i submit many times they promulgate the injustices with this intellectual justification of determination but they have the power in the constitution, 14 the moment, when they talk about the fair administration of justice with due process of the law, making it equal and making its fair it is all are there for them to do it because as you
teach us and we learned in law school models are just dead words unpaid paper. we breathe life into them and we read what kind of life they will be. >> thank you. your book is filled with cases you've been involved with or other cases that illustrate your larger points and not only to the well-known cases of african wagons being killed by the police but cases have people been prosecuted criminally for registering african-americans and you cite the story of your cousin who was almost caught up in the criminal justice system but was fortunate enough to have connections to people who could set him on a straighter path but other people were not or did not were not so fortunate. i'd like you to talk about a few of the lesser-known cases that are in the book that illustrate your larger point.
the audience is familiar with trave on martin and michael brown but why don't they know that they should note? >> for every trave on martin or michael brown and for every step on clark that becomes top news stories there are literally 50 or so cases that are just as worse that you never hear about that nobody knows their names, save their family. [inaudible] who works with me knows so many of them that i won't take too much time and i will give you two or three but my heart still breaks when i think about these cases. prentice hopkins in okanogan, arkansas this 21 -year-old kid that was doing everything right. he served in the military and he and his young bride who was
still in the military they were expecting their first child and he was working for a company that did a few modifications to help get greater efficiency out of fuel so he was at his bosses house who was a 45 -year-old white man or so and his three coworkers and boss was lamenting them about they were not hitting their quotas and so forth and he was their top performer salesman. he said if we are doing so bad why don't you get off the couch and help us. that is pretty much what the narratives came out to be but his boss got up from the table went and got his 44 magnum desert eagle gone, came and pointed at ernest's head, pulled the trigger and it did not go off but then pointed again and
boom -- it blew his brains all over the table in front of three witnesses, two middle-class white witnesses and a young white woman who was had her first day on the job. the police were called. he said stand your ground. he did not get arrested. it was not until that young woman talked to my law firm who told the truth and until his mother and his young bride and i had a press conference almost two and a half weeks later after the incident that he was finally arrested. the hypocrisy of how the law works is because he had resources he was allowed -- remember, that fact pattern. he was allowed to plead to manslaughter because he said he
did not intend to kill ernest that the gun went off accidentally. he was trying to de- cocked the gun and he received an 11 year sentence based on the plea agreement which he with parole be out in five years. ernest never got the attention of these other cases but i submit to you it was far worse than many of them that have gotten the attention i think of isaac singletary, first time i heard of a standard ground was not trave on martin's case but when isaac singletary, 80 -year-old black man who was a veteran and who was a came from jacksonville, florida and had moved to new york after he got out the service he was a cook and his mother got up in age and he decided to move home to take care of his mother and after his mother passed he decided to stay
home and his property that his family was very proud of. he had a house and they had a house next to it where since he had left over the years the government had built subsidized housing projects across the street and with that came urban decay and everybody knew pops. they called isaac singletary and they did not allow any of that drugs on his property. you had an undercover police officers, hispanic officer, white officer common set up a sting operation where they were selling drugs at his birth house was vacant and they set up their in that guard and mr. singletary on a sunday afternoon came out of his t-shirt and shorts and his fried chicken was still on
the stove in the aftermath but he came out with his 22 pistol telling them get the hell off my land and i don't allow that and so forth and the police claimed they identified themselves and my experts told us that no they wait would have ever do that because if they do that they are undercover description is revealed and you would never do that. for the life of me i don't understand why they just did not get off his property but they claim that mr. singletary shot at them and witnesses said he never shot because one thing we know about the projects people are always outside watching stuff and you know, they said no. the old man did not shoot. he pointed the gun but the police shot him. he kept telling them get the h off my property over and over and all they had to do was get
off the property. they shot mr. singletary and he fell back and that's the other thing, the distance, even if he had pointed the gun at them he was about 20, 30 feet away from them they said. the gun when they shot him he fell back on the house, stumbled to his back yard and then the swat team came and went in the backyard and took pops out. they shot him six times. ... they don't give a the courtesf
coming to you to notify you. then you end up dead and they gave you the statutory, monetary limit that the state pays for killing you and they say no, the officers are not going to jail. those are some of the cases people don't know about that just as egregious. serve this country as a productive citizen and for that he got killed simply telling what he thought drug dealers perceived as drug dealers to get off his property. >> so before i ask the next question i should tell the audience, you all have the opportunity to pose your own questions. i think that would be people walking up and down the aisles so you just have opportunity to write your question down on a card, pass it the isles and in about 15 more minutes we will start posing some of your questions. i'm going to ask the next --
>> i'll try to make my answers shorter. >> there's a lot to say. i know in your book the last chapter recommendations, then things we could be doing. i want to ask you more specifically. year in florida. if you could make three legal reforms in florida that would have some affect on the problems you are talking about, what will be your top three things to do? >> deep question. i know, number one fight off the bat because we have been railing against it since february 26, 2012 when trayvon martin was walking home i need his own business talking to his friend on the phone. the neighborhood watch volunteer zimmerman profile pursued and shot him in his heart. and then got to sleep in his bed
that night. so the first thing i would certainly do in florida is, was the first state to pass the standard ground law which i am on record i think is the most racist jim crow law that we've ever seen in america. it is sad because black people and brown people in america regrettably and, unfortunately, we had gotten used to the police killing us and not being held accountable. but this stand your ground law made it where in the tom dick or harry could kill us, and still not be held accountable and not just not held accountable, remember that statistic i talked about what black people on death row, the cook his way to get the death row in america is to be a person of color and kill a white person. but yet when a white person
kills a person of color, oftentimes they are not even arrested. all they have to say is stand your ground. so that would certainly be the first law to give it a stand your ground. not amend it, it really did. there was nothing wrong with self-defense. there was nothing wrong with the doctrine. stand your ground was a solution looking for a problem. the nra suggested it and bought the legislature and said, now you have the license to use the instruments that we are selling you. and don't worry about any accountability. just use them. i just think that's the wrong message to say young people, we saw all of our problems with violence and guns, versus conflict resolution and diplomacy. it's a terrible message. the second thing i would do is,
we now have this amendment to restore the rights of convicted felons in florida. because it was 1.4 million people in florida that could never vote because if you're a convicted felon in florida, you can never vote. finally there was a referendum put on the ballot and it passed overwhelmingly, and the powers that be, they say okay, well, i know all of you black and brown people are a majority. there was a lot of white people, too, convicted felons but overwhelmingly minorities. they said, you can vote, but first you have to pay all the court costs, whatever prison calls, administrative fees we have for you while we were howling up while you are in prison.
-- tallying just imagine, you have these poor people of color who, they are voting and picketing to get the right to vote and they win. and then they moved the goalposts. they change the rules and say, you just got to pay this five or $6000. many of them as a told you convicted felons, they are struggling to get jobs just to pay their light bill. how many of them are going to be able to hand over five or $6000 to go vote? that's the hypocrisy in it all when you talk about everybody in america has democracy. well, not if we get to define you as a criminal and we have chapter in the book called legislative, , about legislative intent which suggests very simply, we can predict -- in fact, we can tell who to -- who the criminals are going to be. i never forget my professor said when i was in college, he said i bet you all $500 i can get rid
of all the crime in america. we were kind of dumbfounded ricky said we get rid of all the crime in america overnight, just like that. i'll bet you $500 i can do can do. we would like okay, professor jones. how would you get rid of all the crime in america? he said simply change the definition of crime. it's that simple. we have a case where a young man the saggy pants law we know exactly who that is identified for, you know, the seven water law, it's directed at poor people for just trying to find a way to make ends meet. they are trying to criminalize the coaches, that we begin to populate the criminal industrial complex and get younger, stronger sleighs. that's a final thing i will say about florida. i would get rid of that poll tax
was number two, they are now making those 1.4 million floridians have to pay. the third thing is in florida, and jenna, you know, we direct file more children as adults into the adult prison than any other state in america. it's so sad when you sit in the court room and you see there are direct violence, 14 year old black and hispanic boys, but not just the boys, the highest growing percentage of people being imprisoned in america right now are minority women, black and hispanic women. we concentrate on the boys but it's so in-your-face that the young ladies are not safe neither. and then they direct file them oftentimes while they are in prison. they are psychologically scarred
forever. they are often raped. they only to have a suicide they said almost i think 36 more times than the average person in america, and these are kids under the age of 18 who have been put into adult prisons. so those would be the three things. if i could make a more perfect union, that's what i would do. >> thank you. [applause] >> okay. so i think we're ready to take questions that were generated by the audience members. we have several. if we get to these we can ask some more. >> okay.
>> first question. what advice do you have for young black or brown present live in a place like boston where racism is not as blatant as in florida but still incredibly present? what would you give, what would your advice be for a person like that? >> the advice i would give, and vacated, this justification of discrimination because we see it every day. the course and the supreme court and all the of the courts, they always figure out the matter what the situation is, to make sure that people of color get the most of injustice and the least of justice. what i think have to do is what we say in the first thing about the 12 personal steps we can all do. you can use your personal platform to speak truth to power.
this book i endeavored to have it be an opportunity for all races to confront our biases. because we all have them and we had to constantly think about our implicit biases. if you're a young person of color, you try to have the dialogue as much as you can by using your influence, your platforms. i used an example of john legend, not because he has all this influence. because he chose to use social media every day for 50 days to only talk about being in the box were convicted felons had a check the box and once they checked the box you knew they were not getting the job. because he invited everybody else to join them, , you can do that. i think about how worked universal law student who called us up and asked trey vons
parents for permission to stara change.org petition that became the largest addition in change.org history that said the killer of trayvon martin should at least be arrested and brought to court to face their witnesses and evidence against them. he didn't know that six laypeople were signing this petition, but he said i want to do something to try to make it better. i'm sure there are things in the boston community you can try to address by using your platform. i think about gideon and we talk about that in gideon versus wainwright. the person didn't even have a high school diploma. his petition to the supreme court said, you know, the sixth amendment said i had a right to an attorney and if i couldn't afford one and one would be appointed to me, but that didn't happen for me. he just wrote the petition. you have to try to do something. it's better to strike a match
and to curse the darkness. with this book and with the cases i take, i follow the example of my hero, thurgood marshall, that say you have to do some, you know, he would never go to the best schools because it was just the reality of life and that it was a conclusion in law that black people, when white people would never go to school together. but justice marshall everyday said he would wake up and he would do something that was within his power to tear down segregation. we all have the capacity within us, as dr. king said we all have a role to play. that everybody is expected to be with me and black lives matter on the front line, but you can do something just showing up to city council every week with your group and you say i want to talk about this young person who
were shot in the back by the police. i want to know why we have all these minorities being charged with felonies and they only make up 5% of the population. you know, just those things that you can do that you don't have asked anybody else for. it's simple. you get on your computer. it you going down to city hall, you assisting somebody which is it a easiest thing to do. we can't save them all, and this racist criminal justice system is still going to continue to target our children. we can't out run racism in america. it does about how fluent we are. it just doesn't matter. our children right now, unless we can desensitize the probability of prison in america, they will continue to target as. but we can try to save one by mentoring, like the starfish on
the beach. you can't save them all. well, i saved that one. [applause] >> so we have another one that is about the trajectory that we are on. this person asks why does it seem be getting worse and worse and worse, or -- excuse me. are they really getting worse and worse, or is the abuse that is always happen finally been brought to light? what is our trajectory? >> thank god for the advent of technology, the things are becoming more transparent. i think the injustices were always there, but because the internet, because body cameras. when you think of trayvon martin in many instances it became the number one you sort in the world in 2012, not because mainstream media but because of social media. and the young people. i think about michael brown in ferguson. president obama signed the bill
that provided $50 million for all police officers around the country to get body camera video so many of them got the grants and got the body camera video so it is transparent. i think that if half full or half empty, your perspective. certainly i i think you have in the white house is trying to get rid of a lot of the momentum towards equal justice under the law. but i also think when you think about the conviction of amber geiger just a few weeks ago, was the first time a white lease woman had ever been convicted of murder of killing a black man in america. so that's some progress. i think about marquise mclaughlin who was killed, the parking lot vigilante down in clearwater, florida,, , killed n
front of his children. tragically he said stanczyk read because he had a surveillance video, all-white jury convicted him and he was sentenced to 20 years in prison. very similar cory jones that in west palm beach, florida, killed cory. thank god the tow truck recorder was on. he was an undercover police officer who like and said he had identified itself. cory went to is great at 3:00 at night on a saturday night will. cory, recently good kids. not that just to be a near perfect person of color to get equal justice but it seems like that's the standard they are now holding my notice to because if they can assassinate your character, then they say you are not worthy of consideration. you are not worthy of their giving you equal justice and the enemies of the quality continue
to try to use the law to be able to disenfranchise people, to marginalize people, to dehumanize people, especially people of color. but we have it within our capacity i believe to be able to use the laws as an instrument of good. we have examples throughout our history of the country so when ask me about the constitution and why i still believe, ice to believe america is the greatest country in the world to give the person who is disenfranchised, who is poor, who is marginalize an opportunity to increase their lot in life. we are by far still that great beacon of hope and justice for all of the world to marvel. we just cannot let enemies of equality be able to win. that simple. we have to make sure our children are more intelligent
than those who would seek to oppress them. we will never ever win this battle when violence and dense and so forth. the only way we will win this war is with an elect and courage and diplomacy. i digress to say this because dr. king said that the coward asked the question, is it safe? he said that speeding bbc askee question, is it politically correct? but he said banerjee asked the question, is it popular? but then he said conscience asked the question, is it right? and he said there comes a time when we must all take a position that's neither popular nor politically correct or not even safe, but we must take a position because our conscience tells us it's the right thing to do. i submit to my fellow americans, it is the right thing to do to
not be neutral when you see an injustice, to do something about it. because our country is great because of the individuals who decide to have the courage everyday to make it great. [applause] >> okay. so we have time for one last question. i want to just ask actually, i want to ask the question about media here because you have been someone who is been in the media. you have been controversial for being in the media are using videos to make cases well known when you take them. for hosting a reality tv show
for doing -- your own production company producing things for netflix. now, some people say that work isn't connected to the work you outlined here. so connect those two to make pe and respond to the criticism. >> absolutely. you know, malcolm x said one of the most powerful drugs ever created in the world was tv. because tv literally, with those images and so forth, put things in your subconscious mind, have you taking things you don't even know you are thinking. and so when you see everyday life order when the police and prosecutors always white and honorable and a little minority people are always wrong and
criminal and mischievous, it says in your mind, when you look at forensic files, , when you lk at all these cable news stations, your newspaper and always have these images about black people and hispanic people being irresponsible or violent and everything. it sets in your mind. you come in the courtrooms. you can almost predict what these jurors are thinking before anybody even opens their mouth. and so what i try to do on television, think about what thurgood marshall would be doing, because he would always not just take a case that would impact the individual, their family, but he wanted a case that would have the greatest impact on society as a whole. because i believe what justice marshall was trying to do was trying to impact the hearts and minds of future jurors, jurors
were going to sit in judgment about children and were going to decide whether they became part of the school to prison pipeline, or whether they got a chance to achieve the american dream. and so we offer evidence of innocence id can we afford tv one and majority black audiences. when we try now not to get on netflix is we have these wrongfully incarcerated individuals, mostly black and hispanic people, because the innocence project has documented that as many as 100,000 people are sitting in american prisons who are completely innocent and they think that's on the low side, but completely innocent. they didn't commit any crime at all and most of them are black and brown people. the reason we think black and brown people are convicted of crimes when there's no evidence
whatsoever is because the jury pool has been tainted from the media. they have been tainted from tv so it shows were taught but have system got it wrong over and over and over and over again, therefore, when they come in the courtroom baby they won't be so quick to believe the police or believe the prosecutor. we collected in the book over and over again this prosecutorial immunity is the biggest hypocrisy ever picked because they can just convict poor black and brown people, and when they are shown to not just be a mistaken but willful and put in these people in prison,, taking the liberty away sometimes for ten, 20, 30 years. my bad. i'm, you know, they don't even
apologize. and nothing happens to them. and you see it over and over again. i want to try, with these tv shows, hopefully affect these next police officers who have interactions with black and brown people so they won't be so quick to shoot first and ask questions later. you know, you think about all these cases were unnecessary and not justifiable. i think about terrence crutcher in tulsa, oklahoma. i think about tamir rice, twitter's old come in cleveland. i think about jonathan crawford in walmart in beavercreek ohio. i think about stephan clark and his grandmothers backyard with his cell phone. i think about, you know, booker jones on his couch with amber geiger. i think about diana jefferson in her own apartment mining or business. you think about philando castile
with his daughter in the back seat. i mean, you think that all these cases, walter scott running away. cory jones who just was a black man who happen to have car trouble, and he had to die for that. all these cases over and over again and you juxtapose that with confirmed white mass murderers, whether it be they killed in parkland, florida,, whether it be the waffle house killer in tennessee who ran into the woods. the police chased him into the woods. he had confirmed killed four people and shop four others. he went into the woods and him and the police all walked out alive. and you say, if that was a black person, and no way he would've walked out of the woods of life. you think about dylann roof, which is in my mind the worst one ever because he killed nine of the most innocent people you could ever find. and you all remember the
interview he said he thought -- felt bad about doing to because they were so kind to him. but yet the police followed him across state lines, and when they interact with this confirmed mass murderer, what do they do? do they shoot him and ask questions later? no. they arrest and protecting because white men get arrested and protected, and black men get shot on assumption. and they took dylan wrote to burger king on the way i'm going to june after he killed nine black people -- dylann roof. what i try to do with these tv shows is try to point out to the hearts and minds of america that we can do better. i believe that with everything in my heart. [applause]
>> so i should say something about book signings. what we have the book signing here? out there. okay. so first the book is called "open season: legalized genocide of colored people" by attorney benjamin crump. we will have a book signing out there afterwards. please stay for that. thank mr. crump for coming here and for sharing his story. >> it's an honor, thank you. [applause] >> ever your booktv covers a number of book fairs and festivals around the country and here's a a look at some of the events coming up.
>> you are watching booktv on c-span2 with top nonfiction books and authors of the weekend. booktv, television for serious readers. >> an extra day of nonfiction of the programs this veterans day as the secretary of the smithsonian and sedition lonnie bunch chronicles the gratian of the national museum of african american history and culture.